Saving shul seats, sidurrim for others not yet here

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    CTL: When you’re a guest in another shul, especially one you don’t have a relative (or other acquaintance) in and you’re not too familiar with, where do you sit?


    The true sin for which Sodom and Gemorah had ultimately been destroyed had not been their licentious behavior. These cities had been considered beyond redemption, and worthy of complete destruction, because of their lack of hospitality to strangers!



    Zochim l’adom, one can acquire for someone else, even if one does not need for himself, BUT only if lo chav l’acherim, it does not cause damage/harm for others.”

    There is no such concept as “Zochin” in this regard – it is not exactly hefeker that there are “kinyanim” etc. involved. It belongs to the shul i.e. to people as a whole – all are partners and whoever arrives to shul to use it . You have no “Baalus” in any sense other than actually using it.

    See Shulchan Aruch YD 226:1 regarding the concept and ‘geder’ of a BHM”D that its really a shutfos, (See T”Z and Shach there.) consequently, it can only be “his” as long as he is ‘using it.

    I am almost sure I saw Rav Cham K saying the above, but once again, it is difficult to rely on these Rav Chaim’s “M’pi haShmuah” psakim going around these days.


    To CTLawyer, re: your contactual agreement regarding your seat, does it give you rights in the seat or the place (or both)? The nafka mina is l’moshel, if the seat is relocated and regulated to an “inferior” location, do you have a claim to the place or just the seat – wherever it may end up?

    An actual situation, if someone had a seat on the Mizrach wall of the shul, but the shul has recently renovated and expanded the sanctuary 10 ft eastward. That means the e new mizrach wall is 10 feet east of the former mizrach wall. Is the seat and place of the individual still on the mizrach wall – wherever the new mizrach wall is, which is now 10 feet east of the former location, or is the place remaining exactly where it was, which is now 10 feet west of the mizrach wall (a distance away from the new mizrach wall)?



    No you are not violating HIPAA…and neiher and I, we are not healthcare professionals treating my grandson.
    They were unable to do the surgery as the ankle is too swollen. They injected sedatives, pushed the bones back into place and constructed and applied a splint. He is restricted to bed with raised foot until surgery will be done (no later than Monday) they will be inserting a plate, not just pins as originally thought.

    He is sleeping soundly right now in what had been his great grandmothers’ room. Mrs. CTL and I had made a decision to keep the hospital bed, wheelchair and other equipment figuring it might be needed at one time or another as we age, never expecting it would be used fro a grandchild.

    דער מענטש טראַכט און גאָט לאַכט.

    Thank you for your thoughts and interest


    When I am a guest in another shul where I am a stranger, I make sure to arrive early, ask those present who the Gabbai is and inquire as to where I should sit.
    If I know in advance that I’ll be there, I might call the shul office and ask if there is someone I should ask for on arrival who can show me where I should sit.


    I both a seat in a specific location. Let’s call it row B seat 6 (a made up location). If the shul expands and adds additional seating, but my physical seat is still where it was, then that is my seat.
    If the shul wanted to remodel and move seats and rows (adding 10 feet might change where the bimah would be located to keep it central) then the shul would have to negotiate with owners of life interest in specific seats. The shul could not just move a purchased seat.

    I don’t see such a thing happening, as I’ve said before most suburban shuls were built for the baby boom of the 50s and 60s and have far more seats than needed today.


    I have a feeling @ctl doesnt live in lakewood or flatbush. I also believe he might be a lawyer


    my question is how do we respond to someone standing in the street holding a parking spot for someone who is still about 20 minutes away? can i push in or must i drive off?


    I’ve always said I was born and raised and still live in southern CT.
    I went to college in Philadelphia and Law School in Mass.
    I am admitted to the CT, MA, NY and FL bars but only practice in CT and FL

    To my knowledge I have never been in Lakewood.
    I saw the Brooklyn Dodgers when they still played at Ebbets Field in Flatbush.


    Rebyossel: It depends on which jurisdiction you are in and attempting to park in a spot where there is another yid attempting to exercise chazakah over a public parking space for his Shver who is still 20 minutes away. In general, if you can gently ease into the space and push him up on the curb with your front fender without inflicting injury, you can avoid criminal liability. However in Utah, Alabama, Kentucky and the District of Columbia, the initial contact between your vehicle and the parkingspotsitter could put you in public housing (aka the local jail).


    Saving seats in shul…is that the same as saving your friend a place for in line at the grocery store? I was in the store and there was only one person ahead of me at check out with only milk and bread. As she was rung up, her friend comes along with an overflowing shopping cart. The lady ahead of me says she is saving a spot for this firiend, who drove her to store. She let her friend in!

    If someone can save seats in shul, can they also save a spot for someone in a line?

    What about in a parking lot? If you park your car, can you save the parking spot next to your car for your friend that is soon arriving?

    We need guidelines to “Hilchos Saving Places’!!


    CTLaw “If the shul expands and adds additional seating, but my physical seat is still where it was, then that is my seat.”

    i remember once reading a Teshuva from Chasam Sofer (cn’t be certain on details) that once a shul expanded, thereby widening the mizrach wall which originally has 10 seats from Aron to southern wall, but now it had 15 seats.

    The shayloh was (based on my faded memory) this fellow had a seat on mizrach wall, 3 away from Aron Hakodesh which was also 7 away from south wall.

    The two sides of the shayloh:

    The fellow wants to remain 3 seats away from Aron as he always had a seat at that spot – it is his “makom kavuah”, but, on the other hand, the shul says no, your seat was always 7 seats away from south wall, which means based on the new configuration, his seat is now 8 spots away from Aron.

    I don’t remember the psak of Chasam Sofer.

    Refuah sheleima b’soch shar cholei Yisroel for your son, may he soon be zoche to be Oleh Regel.


    Blocking others from enjoying property to which they are entitled can be considered a criminal offense.

    Impeding traffic, jamming air waves can become criminal!

    I feel people that “save” for others are on “thin ice”.

    Imagine “saving” access to the bathroom (single occupancy ones) – not allowing anyone to use it because “my wife/child/friend” is on the way and “really” needs it?!

    Holding the elevator at your floor because the wife/child/friend is on-route, so no one else in entire building can use elevator until you are “done” saving it.

    Is saving a seat or siddur (and why stop at one? Let’s save multiple seats and siddurim) in shul really any different??!!

    Bathrooms, elevators and lehavdil siddurim or pieces of kugel at kiddush are all commodities of limited supply that are offered to the ATTENDING public, not those that may show up later.

    Stop the Saving!


    Thanks for your good wishes for my grandson’s recovery.
    The discussion of the Chasam Sofer is interesting, but my days of arguing the theoretical really ended when I left Yeshiva for university and law school. As an attorney I deal in the concrete facts of the situation.As we say the theoretical is not ripe, it could not be brought for a prospective judgment.

    Small town synagogue life is far different than big city shtieblach. Everything is more regimented and seats, tables, siddurim, chumashim, machzorim outnumber the congregants. Young people tend not to return to raise their families and we see many synagogues close and sell off or give away their belongings.

    Just this year, a major MO Hungarian shul less than 20 minutes from here closed and was demoished and senior living apartments are being built on its site. Mrs. CTL grew up in that shul and when we were in high school there were 500 member families, a Rav, asst. Rabbi, educational director, Hebrew School and Day school. As of a year ago they couldn’t get a regular minyan. The suburb is still white and Jewish, just not frum. The next generations moved away to NY, Baltimore, EY, etc.



    “i remember once reading a Teshuva from Chasam Sofer ”

    See Chasam Sofer on the side of Shu”A on the below link OC 151:5:

    Also see Pischei Teshuvah in Ch”M 162:7

    Bottom line: As with all,.. its a Maclokas haPoskim what status a Muchzak seat in as shul will have, according to classic psak (Rosh etc) it will have a status as his assets to a degree that his children have legal rights to inherit as well, However, the nature of those shul statuses and minhagim have certainly changed over the years, so it will probably depend where and what…

    However, in a town like CT is wherein the Shul is a “community” shul, he might have all rights described in Shulchan Aruch.


    Gaon – “There is no such concept as “Zochin” in this regard – it is not exactly hefeker that there are “kinyanim” etc. involved. It belongs to the shul i.e. to people as a whole – all are partners and whoever arrives to shul to use it . You have no “Baalus” in any sense other than actually using it.”

    When I did homework with my son Gemarah HaMafkid (B.M.) it discusses that a rich person can be zocha peah (produce at corner of field left for poor) for his friend the anee (poor), because Migo he could make hefker his wealthand Migo he could then be zocha for himself the peah, therefore he can be zoche for his poor friend.

    The peah is not hefker, it belongs to the community of poor people…the din of zochin applies. Likewise the seats, siddurimandkiddush kugel is not hefker, it belongs to the community of mispallelim, and IMO zochim works – but limited to what one can be zoche for himself.

    There are kinyanim involved, like hagbaah (picking up the siddur), meshicha (pulling the kugel off the platter)or chazaka (like sitting on seat).

    There is baalus, because if the siddur is put down – no one can grab it (or if you stand for Boruch Sh’Amar – no one can squeeze into your seat). And no one better not touch my kugel once it is in my plate (kinyan chotzer ha’mishtameres)!


    “The peah is not hefker, it belongs to the community of poor people”

    I recall the Ketzos saying Mefurosh that it is “Hefker l’Aniyum..


    “There is baalus, because if the siddur is put down – no one can grab it (or if you stand for Boruch Sh’Ama”

    Great points, but מהיכי תיתי? ( and nice comparison reagarding פאה)
    Perhaps one may grab it and there is nothing you can do, other than say the one is lacking in Midos?

    If you read the first link i posted in YD regarding ones rights to a השתמשות in a shul, you will see its not so simple what status one has, as far as baalos goes. It most likely works with שותפות and ברירה, meaning it is yours as a partnership as long as you are using it, but that is NOT a kinyan, it is only an indication like ברירה on the existing shutfos..


    Gaon – the owner of matnos kehunah has a Tovas Ha’Na’ah to give it to his chaver the kohen. Meaning, it is not totally ‘hefker’. The matnos aniyim are also not totally hefker and the owner retains a tovas ha’na’ah that he can distribute it to his friends the aniyim. In that sense, peah is not hefker (and if you are correctly quoting a ketzos that I am unfamiliar with – the context is required).

    Peah is part of Matnas Aniyim. The kiddush kugel is part of Matnas HaKehillah. There is a did of zechiya, hence the entire fiasco of “saving”.

    L’shitas’cha, do you hold that saving is totally off the mark (no zchiya applies) and thus a saver is simply a gazlan? I would be thrilled if you were correct.


    “And no one better not touch my kugel once it is in my plate (kinyan chotzer ha’mishtameres)!”

    Absolutely agree with that (and am not even looking at your kugel! – though am not sure if a plate has a Chatzor status especially in a shul!) However, a major diff from a siddur or place; kugel was meant to be taken and to eat i.e. as yours ro keep by the giver, whereas, a siddur is meant ro be as an השתמשות only not ro keep. Hence, there won’t be any kinyanim involved.

    Somehow it remindw be…There is an old שאלה if someone is a guest ane receives food at the table, if he can he מקדש an אשה with the portion..


    Gaon – correct, my plate is not a real chotzer, but similar. My plate has a din of keli shel lo’kayach b’rishus mocher, which is like a tzedaka pushka that acquires the tzedaka put into it. My plate is like the pushka and the kugel placed into it is like the tzedaka money put into the pushka.


    I think also there is a kinyan of “ani ha’mehapech b’charara” (a poor person circling around a food item) and kinyan daled amos b’r’shus ha’rabbim (takonas Hazal to create peace, allow a person to own something within his domain of 4 amos).


    “the owner of matnos kehunah has a Tovas Ha’Na’ah to give it to his chaver the kohen. Meaning, it is not totally ‘hefker’. The matnos aniyim are also not totally hefker”

    Oy Rebitzin, I am not sure about the Kugel in shul. but seems like you are making a kugel out of the both. (though your comments are excellent comments – your mind is certainly on track!) מתנות כהונה is considered ממון השבט and therefore has a diff status as you pointed out above, however מתנות עניים is diff – it is considered הפקר for Aniyum
    see Radvaz פ”א הל’ מתנות עניים הי”א

    A major difference is a קטן; a katan can be zochah Matnos Kehunah מדאורייתא whereas, מתנות עניים not. See B.M. 12a. The Ketzos explains that by Matnos anyim the pasuk states: ולעני ולגר תעזוב אותם which seems to imply that it should just be left as hefker, whereas by kehunah…(see siman 343:4) therefore even a shotah can be zocha matnos kehunah…


    What about the Boston minhag of leaving a chair on the road to reserve a parking spot?


    “L’shitas’cha, do you hold that saving is totally off the mark (no zchiya applies) and thus a saver is simply a gazlan? ”

    Agreed that is what I think regarding siddurim and seats, but am not sure if גזילה can be applied here. It is sort of a shutfos in השתמשות, so technically he’s not taking from anyone but still still has no right…



    “I think also there is a kinyan of “ani ha’mehapech b’charara” (a poor person circling around a food item) and kinyan daled amos b’r’shus ha’rabbim ”

    May Hashem bless you! you are gevaldig, and an outstanding Lamdan (or lamdanit)!!

    However, both of these are not applicable in the case of siddurim and seats.

    עני המהפך בחררה — asides its limited parameters and conditions, as is a major maclokes Rishonim, Rab Tam’s shitah is known, that it does not apply wherein there is no other of the item in concern, (e.g hefker: the aggressor can not obtain the item via a diff matter — its free) it only applies to מכר where the Ani can say: go find yourself a diff ילך וישתכר במקום אחר” why mines!

    So in this case, where there are no siddurim left etc, he can not utilize the taynah of עני מהפך בחררה. Lfi R Tam. Now even Rashi in this case, where there are no kinyanim involved and, not יורד לתוך אומנות חבירו Ani meHapech is לכאורה not applicable, siddurim and seats are only an zchus השתמשות and I don’t think that was included in the takaneh of עני מהפך בחררה..


    Gaon, Can you agree with me that my plate is “keli shel lo’kayach b’rishus mocher” that is koneh for the lo’kayach, so when kugel is placed into it, it is like the tzedakah pushka that is koneh the money put into it? Failing that, even when the kugel is in my plate, what makes it mine – can someone grab the kugel out of my plate? (Has happened more than once that I up down my plate, and turn my back for a second, and the prized kugel is missing! Maybe someone was moreh heter that I was not koneh it!)


    “Gaon, Can you agree with me that my plate is “keli shel lo’kayach b’rishus mocher” that is koneh for the lo’kayach,”

    As stated above, ‘kugel’ is a diff category, as its meant for the taker to keep (for the lomdim: it might depend if you can be mekadesh one with it) and thus you can be Zocheh with any kinyan. Now given the shul has a status of חצר של שניהם (see CM 340: ?) you would be correct!

    “turn my back for a second, and the prized kugel is missing! Maybe someone was moreh heter that I was not koneh it!”

    Forget about that you made הגבהה…but the ultimate chuzpah to take from the Rebitzins plate!!
    I guess its a דור של חוצפה יסגא!!


    We gotta protect our piece of kugel! Whether with a kinyan or with ba’alus, or shutfus or whatever zechiya. Kugel is precious and if we don’t protect it we lose it. Not everyone realizes the lomdes of a kiddush kugel. It’s mine!


    Latest chutzpah! Some people use TWO hangers to hang up their coats. I come to shul and there are no hangers left because some took two hangers for their coat. Is it gezel if I take one of the hangers for my coat? Do they have a right to use two hangers when there aren’t enough hangers? Am I being a gonev min haganev? What if they use three or four hangers – is there a limit of how many hangers per mispallel?!


    Some strange shul you daven, Reb….


    Don’t tell me tou never saw someone use two hangers for their coat! It is gezel haRabbim. There isn’t enough hangers for everyone. Can I “steal” back one of the hangers – gonev min haganev? Or is it like Kugel at a kiddush that some chap two (or three or six) pieces! (Maybe I can just grab a piece off their plate “mistakenly” thinking they are holding a serving tray?) But chapping two hangers for one coat – what a chutzpah!!!!!


    And banging Harman – there’s a guy who blows shofer each time Human’s name is said. Is that kosher for banging Harman? A shofar! ? Really! That can’t be ok. I am sure he isn’t yotzeh banging Harman that way! Bet you he’s the guy that uses two hangers for his coat!


    Women need to hear Parsha Zochor, so they also need to bang at Harman. Best using hands or feet to be yotzeh? Is there a minimum amount of times to bang? I heard some say say three babysit others hold you must keep banging till the Gabbay signals to stop. But then the shusher will be shushing…


    My minhag is to bang Haman with my hand. Normally, I band on the table in front of me.

    In the Ladies Section, the tables were removed to allow more space.

    When I hear Haman, there is no table to bang on!

    Can I bang on the person in front of me?

    If so, is it best to band on their head or on their back?


    What is a greater chutzpah:

    “Saving” a seat for someone (when there isn’t enough seats)?

    Saving a few siddurim (of my nussach) so there are no siddurim (of my nussach) left for me?

    Grabbing a few pieces of kugel at kiddush when there is barely enough for one piece per person?

    (Grabbing the one piece of kugel I luckily found and you grabbed it from my plate when my back was turned for a minute?)

    Using two hangers in shul coatroom, and there aren’t enough hangers?

    I know who you are and I am watching you!!!


    @Reb you can stamp your feet too


    A person must keep his/her mesorah.

    My minhag is the band my hand. Joining the feet stompers is not so poshut. If you read the other threads you will see how complex it is to join Chabad, join Litvish, join Sefardim – now you say I should join the Feet Stompers?! Hand Bangers should stay with their mesorah and not seek to join Feet Stompers!

    The mitzvah is done respectfully by Hand Banging!

    The Feet Stompers are mevazah the mitzvah by using their feet!

    Many Gedolei Yisroel have denounced the Feet Stompers and don’t consider them as part of Klal Yisroel.

    Stomp out the Feet Stompers!!

    Reb Eliezer

    I will melamed zechus on the feet stompers as a symbol to eradicate and stomp on them with their feet.


    There is a minhag in some shuls to have TWO talesim……one to wear and the other to periodically lay down on open seats near you to save them for mishpacha that will be arriving later. Some families seem to have a “designated early davener” whose mission is to arrive before baruch she’amar and stretch out the tallis for those who typically don’t show up until shmoneh esreh.


    GH, this minhag in some shuls,..

    is there ANY limit to the number of seats one person can save?

    Like can they save the majority of the seats in the shul? Saving one extra seat is Gezel, not mentshlich, minhag Sodom, mesayaya lidvar aveira and kfira.

    (Besides the bizoyon of a talis – tashmish shel kedusha to use it as a reservation tool on a chair, what chutzpah piled on more chutzpah!)


    We are seeing the siman mentioned in the last mishna in maseches Sotah of what will happen before Moshiach comes.. Zekenim Yaamdu – the older people will be standing, why? Mipney ketanim, because the kids grabbed their seats before they could get there. So we know that we’re holding right before Moshiach comes.

    Reb Eliezer

    Gaon, I would say yes. He can be mekadesh the ishoh because once he was given the food, it belongs to him to eat it or leave it over.

    Reb Eliezer

    Thinking it over, it is not simple. If he leaves the food over without touching it, it can be reused. If he tastes it and leaves it over, it loses its vakue. If he removes a piece into another plate to eat, the rest can be reused. He should be able to be mekadesh with the piece he removed.

    Reb Eliezer

    If there is a helping plate, just remove a piece in another plate and be mekadesh with it and then help yourself into your plate.


    The ultimate chutzpah in shul:

    The shul hot water urn holds around 50 cups of hot water. Since the shul has over 100 mispallilim with many getting a cup of coffee or tea, it always runs out. I am standing and waiting to get a coffee behind this fellow. He takes himself a coffee and then fills up an oversized trucker style thermos! When I get to the urn – it’s empty! What chutzpah!! He should be placed in cherm for being gozel ess harabbim and called a rasha!


    If the shul always runs out of hot water, having an urn that can only serve half of those present it is time for a member to step up and buy a second urn.
    But, then what would you complain about?


    How is it that some posters are saying that they are saving seats for their wife? Are they davening in a shul without a mechitza?


    RebbeDebbie: No, but obviously coming early enough to enter the ezras nashim and place a siddur or chumash at a seat. BTW, i have heard that Rav Pam used to prepare a siddur and chumash for his wife at her seat before davening.

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